Friday, May 23, 2014

Nexus devices don't play nice with Netgear routers

My kids' Nexus 5 phone and Nexus 7 (2012) tablets have a terrible time staying connected to our Netgear N300 (WNR3500L) WiFi router.  I used to think that it was just my son's imagination, because he would complain of problems while I was actively using my Samsung Galaxy Note 2 just fine on the same access point.  It turns out the problem is due to the Nexus WiFi radio not playing nice with many Netgear routers.  The fix, fortunately, is a simple one.

Before the fix, the Nexus' WiFi icon in the status bar flips back & forth from blue (good) to grey (disconnected), and network connectivity goes away.  A web search confirms that I'm not the only one seeing this problem.

The problem dates back to 2012 with many Nexus devices (like the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 5, and Nexus 7) and many Netgear WiFi routers, including the N300 and N600.  Some people report this problem with the Samsung Galaxy SII, S3, and Note II, although my own Note 2 and my wife's S3 work just fine with our N300.

The solution seems to be to turn off all the QoS settings (especially WMM) on the Netgear router.  First, connect to the router's address with a web browser and log in.  In the left column, under the "Advanced" heading, click "QoS Setup."  Uncheck all the boxes and click "Apply."

Just for good measure, I also updated my N300's firmware to the latest version while I was at it.  My old firmware version (found under "Router Status" on the left column) was V1.2.2.30_34.0.37NA.  I downloaded version V1.2.2.48_35.0.55NA (dated May 2013) from Netgear's support site.  Unzip the resulting zip file on your hard drive.  On the Netgear, click "Router Upgrade" under the "Maintenance" heading.  Select the .chk file that you unzipped earlier and click "Upload."  The router will reboot in about 90 seconds.

I didn't test whether upgrading the firmware by itself would fix the problem without making the QoS change.  If any of you readers try this, please report your results in the comments below!  Another person said that, instead of the QoS fix, downgrading his firmware to fixed the issue.  That sounds like a drastic step, IMHO.

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